Anatoli Konstantinowitsch Ljadow

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Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov

Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov(Russian Анатолий Константинович Лядов, scientific transliteration Anatoly Konstantinovič Lyadov; also Anatoly Lyadov; * 29 Apriljul. /11 May 1855greg. in Saint Petersburg; † 15.jul. / 28August 1914greg. at Polinovka Manor, Novgorod Governorate ) was a Russian composer.


Lyadov grew up without a mother. As he showed musical talent at an early age, his father – conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg – gave him his first lessons before he began his studies at the St Petersburg Conservatory as early as 1870. Here he received lessons primarily from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, with whom he remained friends throughout his life. Although he was temporarily excluded from lessons for indiscipline, he completed his studies very successfully in 1878 and became a lecturer in harmony at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in the same year. A year later he began conducting the concerts of the St. Petersburg Amateur Musical Society. In 1884 Lyadov married and became an editor at the newly founded Belayev Music Publishing House. From the following year he taught at the Petersburg court chapel. In 1901 he became an additional lecturer in counterpoint at the Conservatory, which he temporarily left in 1905 in response to Rimsky-Korsakov’s dismissal. In the same year, however, he resumed his teaching activities and in 1906 became professor of composition, which he remained until his death. Many of his students went on to become renowned composers; Sergei Prokofiev and Nikolai Myaskovsky became the most famous. In addition to his work as a composer and teacher, Lyadov also distinguished himself as a draughtsman.


Lyadov was a member of the so-called “Second Petersburg School”, a circle of composers in the succession of the “Mighty Cluster” around the patron Mitrofan Belyayev, which was therefore also called the “Belyayev Circle”. Accordingly, Russian folk music played a major role for him – he was active as a collector and arranger of folk songs. His piano works, however, which take up the majority of his output, are rarely directly inspired by folk music, but rather take their cue from Frédéric Chopin. From around the turn of the century, Lyadov was additionally influenced by impressionist colourings and Alexander Scriabin, whom he was admittedly no longer prepared to follow after the latter’s Fifth Piano Sonata. His orchestral works lean much more heavily on Russian folk music than the majority of his piano music. As mentioned, Lyadov composed mostly piano miniatures as well as a few short orchestral pieces; although he undoubtedly possessed great talent, a not always fortunate upbringing meant that throughout his life he was characterised by a certain laziness and indiscipline which made him shy away from larger, more labour-intensive projects. He wrote an opera for decades without making any significant progress; the Russian choreographer Sergei Dhiaghilev commissioned him in 1909 to compose a ballet called The Firebird, but when after some time Lyadov had only bought the appropriate music paper, Dhiaghilev gave the commission to the young Igor Stravinsky. Lyadov’s compositions captivate with their sovereign mastery of the craft of composition as well as their differentiated colourfulness, which sometimes even includes a tendency towards the grotesque.


  • Orchestral works
    • Baba-Jaga op. 56 (1891-1904)
    • Eight Russian Folk Songs op. 58 (1905)
    • The Enchanted Lake op. 62 (1909)
    • Kikimora op. 63 (1905), cf
    • From the Apocalypse op. 66 (1910-13)
    • Nänie op. 67 (1914)
  • Vocal music
    • Final scene from The Bride of Messina (Schiller) op. 28 (1878)
    • Sorinka, opera (1879-1909, unfinished)
    • Ten Russian Folk Songs for Women’s Choir op. 45 (1899)
    • more than 150 folk song arrangements
  • Piano music[1]
    • Ballade in D major op. 21a Von alten Zeiten (1890, 1906 arranged for orchestra as op. 21b)
    • Marionettes op. 29 (1892)
    • Die Spieldose, Scherzwalzer op. 32 (1893, also for small orchestra)
    • Barcarole F sharp major op. 44 (1898)
    • numerous preludes, mazurkas, etudes and other piano pieces


Soviet stamp (1955) – with a portrait of Lyadov and an excerpt from the symphonic work Eight Russian Folk Songs.

The Soviet Post Office issued a special stamp in 1955 to mark the 100th anniversary of Lyadov’s birth. Since 1987, he has given his name to the Lyadov Glacier on Alexander I Island in Antarctica.


  • Dorothee Eberlein: Anatolij K. Ljadov. Life – Work – Musical Approach. Gitarre und Laute, Cologne (= G + L, 119), ISBN 3-88583-000-0.

Web links

Commons: Anatoly Lyadov– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Cf. for example Anatoly Lyadov, Sämtliche Klavierwerke. Könemann Music, Budapest.